As the ICC World Cup 2023 approaches, the Netherlands cricket team, although considered rank outsiders, is gearing up to make a mark in the tournament. Coach Ryan Cook is relying on training camps in India and practice matches to help his team perform well in the quadrennial extravaganza.
The Netherlands team is set to arrive in India in mid-September for an acclimatization camp in Bengaluru, where they will also face off against a couple of local sides. Following this, they will engage in pre-tournament warm-up matches against India and Australia in Thiruvananthapuram.
Cook is optimistic that the time spent in India, combined with the team’s unwavering desire to win, will contribute to their performance. He stated, “We are preparing as hard as we can. There will be a couple of camps and practice matches in India. We hope they will serve us well in the tournament proper. Once you enter the tournament, it will be inspirational for everyone to do well.”
Having secured qualification for the World Cup in July ahead of teams like two-time champions West Indies, the Dutchmen have not played any international matches since then. This lack of recent play could potentially leave them a bit raw for the event, scheduled to take place in India throughout October and November.
Despite participating in two previous editions of the World Cup in India (1996 and 2011), the Netherlands team is yet to secure a victory on Indian soil. However, captain Scott Edwards downplayed the significance of historical performance, emphasizing the present team’s different dynamics. He said, “I don’t think it’s necessarily something that we look into the past. I think you’ve got pretty much a completely different squad.”
The Netherlands will face India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan in the World Cup league stage. Having played against Sri Lanka and Pakistan within the past year, the Dutch team has some familiarity with their opponents. Cook acknowledged the value of previous experience but highlighted the need for clinical performance, especially against spinners. “Obviously, they’ve got quality spinners, and we didn’t play that well (in the past). So, for us, we’ve just got to be more clinical when we get those chances,” he explained.
While the Netherlands team lacks extensive top-tier cricket exposure, it boasts a pool of talented players. Some players, like Edwards, Logan Van Beek, and Bas de Leede, have demonstrated their skills, even participating in English league cricket. Many players, including Paul Van Meekeran, have also played in various T20 leagues globally.
Cook aims to leverage these strengths in the World Cup. He expressed excitement about the squad’s potential, particularly the local Dutch cricketers who are already making their mark at the international level.